Foreign Policy

Bush Adopts Obama's "Naive" Foreign Policy

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Last year, Barack Obama had the right smirking with glee when he made the sensible suggestion that if the U.S. gets intelligence that there are Al Qaeda cells operating in Pakistan, we should go in and get them, with or without permission of the Pakistani government.  If Pakistan won't root out Al Qaeda, Obama said, his administration would.  I never quite understood the controversy in that statement, which by the way, is the position of many in the U.S. military.

Nevertheless, Obama was roundly ridiculed.  John McCain said the statement showed Obama's naivete.  Mitt Romney called him "Dr. Strangelove."  Conservative blogs mischaracterized his position as wanting to "invade" or "bomb" Pakistan.  Obama's critics at the time apparently believed that it's fine to invade an occupy a country whose government had virtually no ties to Al Qaeda, but suggesting we cross the border into a country whose government may be actively or passively harboring large numbers of Al Qaeda and Taliban forces is foolish.

It looks like the Bush administration didn't find Obama's position all that naive, because they've adopted it to the letter:

President Bush secretly approved orders in July that for the first time allow American Special Operations forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the prior approval of the Pakistani government, according to senior American officials.

The new orders reflect concern about safe havens for Al Qaeda and the Taliban inside Pakistan, as well as an American view that Pakistan lacks the will and ability to combat militants. They also illustrate lingering distrust of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies and a belief that some American operations had been compromised once Pakistanis were advised of the details.

Will McCain now condemn the Bush administration's decision to go into Pakistan?  Or was this idea only naive ten months ago?  Was it only naive because it came from Obama?

The Obama campaign should be making a much bigger deal about this.

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  1. I never quite understood the controversy in that statement, which by the way, is the position of many in the U.S. military.

    Nobody actually disagreed with that statement. It’s just the rules of the game among the political elite that you don’t say things like that in public.

    I think the squabble goes more to the issue of government transparancy and the relationship between the government and the people in a democracy, than to actual military policy.

  2. The politics of the issue aside, launching raids inside Pakistan is not just naive, it’s incredibly stupid — and if you find yourself on the same side of an issue as the Bush administration, it’s probably time to start reexamining your assumptions.

    Whatever gains the U.S. thinks it might be making in killing a Taliban member or two in the Pashtun tribal regions are immediately squashed when their heavy-handed approach — bombing the village in order to save it — kills a bunch of innocent people, thus ensuring that terrorist groups in the region never suffer for a lack of recruits.

    What’s disheartening is that a Reason writer and avowed libertarian can’t see the foolishness in attacking a sovereign — and unstable — nuclear power in order to further a failing military occupation in Afghanistan.

  3. I have no interest in furthering the occupation in Afghanistan. I thought we should have removed the Taliban, then gotten out.

    I do have an interest in rooting out and eliminating Al Qaeda cells, no matter where they are.

  4. If Bush has adopted it then it must be a wise policy.

  5. Yeah I wouldn’t brag that Bush endorsed my policy, even if it happens to be the right one.

  6. It has nothing to do with occupying Afghanistan, it is about destroying the group that attacked us. According to libertarian philosophy, this would be completely justified as one of the functions of government, in fact one of the main functions, is to protect the citizenry. Whether or not this would be the best approach to protect the citizenry, I am not so sure. However, at least ideologically, this passes the test as a justified move.

    Pakistan, by being passive, implicitly supports Al Qaeda. Either they could actively help and oust the cells on their own, or they could passively help by letting us in to do it.

    The one thing that is an issue here is the question “Why aren’t they letting us in”. I, frankly, don’t know enough about the issues over there to know the answer to that question. I could see there being an interest in not letting in foreign forces to run around your country hunting terrists. You never know what might happen to some of your citizens during some raid, conflict, or whatever. If Pakistan truly cannot combat Al Qaeda, but does not want to have foreign military forces running amok in their country, does that give us the right to go in an do what we want anyway?

    I think I still fall squarely in the “I don’t know” column on this one.

  7. I do have an interest in rooting out and eliminating Al Qaeda cells, no matter where they are.

    Are you claiming we have the right to just violate another country’s sovereignty because we want to kill someone?

  8. “Are you claiming we have the right to just violate another country’s sovereignty because we want to kill someone?”

    If that country won’t hand over the leader of a terrorist group responsible for attack our soil…yeah.

  9. But nation building? That’s a worthless exercise. Find the bastards, kill them, get the hell out. Make the experience painful enough that they won’t want to shelter them again.

  10. They also illustrate lingering distrust of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies and a belief that some American operations had been compromised once Pakistanis were advised of the details.

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling harboring terrorists/insurgents is going on in here! Seriously, it’s tough to win a fight when the other guy gets to call time out whenever he wants. The next politician or pundit who calls Pakistan “our ally in the war on terror”, should be horse whipped in the public square.

    Will McCain now condemn the Bush administration’s decision to go into Pakistan? Or was this idea only naive ten months ago? Was it only naive because it came from Obama?

    The Obama campaign should be making a much bigger deal about this.

    QFT. Emphasis added = QFMFT!

  11. Balko says:
    “I do have an interest in rooting out and eliminating Al Qaeda cells, no matter where they are.”

    I agree and with widespread reprots of a blue eyed blond haired Al CIADA being recruited to destroy our freedom in america(link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBO7xBpJtoc) it is imperative that we increase domestic spying capabilities, pass Patriot ACt 3, complete the construction of our FEMA camps and then look for the leading signature of Al Ciada members: people who bring up innappropriate questions about WTC 7 or who try to poke holes in the official story of 9/11. People who speak too much about “their first amendment rights” or “the ideals of the countries founders”
    (Link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcGpjc-fR8E)

  12. I wonder if Obama’s plans included all the accidental friendly fire issues currently winning all those hearts & minds?

  13. Pakistan, by being passive, implicitly supports Al Qaeda.

    The same was said of Cambodia and the NVA, and the US Army and Air Force attacked sites in Cambodia with little regard for its sovereignty, and neither the Cambodians nor the NVA had ever attacked American soil (setting aside embassies I guess). I am with Epsiarch, I question the decision to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty without some degree of communication with the government, but that may have happened for all I know.

  14. the sensible suggestion that if the U.S. gets intelligence that there are Al Qaeda cells operating in Pakistan, we should go in and get them, with or without permission

    And if the US gets intelligence that there is WMD development we should go in and get them, with or without permission.

    And if the police get intelligence that there is a bag of pot in someone’s house, they should go in and get them, with or without permission.

  15. If that country won’t hand over the leader of a terrorist group responsible for attack our soil…yeah

    So declare war and do it the correct way. We only do this to Pakistan because we can. Do you think we would do it to China? No way in hell.

  16. China wouldn’t be stupid enough to shelter a terrorist group that would attack American soil. That’s not what responsible powers do.

  17. If a group from China DID attack American soil, I’m pretty sure the Chinese government would hand them over rather quickly if we requested it.

  18. We need to just go in and kill all the Iraqi terrorists that are hiding in Pakistan.

  19. Al Qaeda is a symptom afflicting us, not the underlying disease. Al Qaeda isn’t some unique and unreproducible phenomenon plowing ahead independent of larger forces in the world. Destroy it and something else will take its place.

    Expending vast efforts, breaking the rules of international order and peace, and generally letting ends (destroying Al Qaeda) justify means might destroy Al Qaeda, but it won’t do anything to diminish terrorism. Put Al Qaeda on the list of pointless crusades against the symptoms of bad policy along with people smugglers, pimps, drug cartels, and juvenile gangs.

  20. Nitpicking about what China would do is avoiding the question: why is it OK to do this to Pakistan?

  21. Nobody says you shouldn’t treat both the symptoms and the underlying cause.

  22. “Nitpicking about what China would do is avoiding the question: why is it OK to do this to Pakistan?”

    Because nobody of any importance in the world objects to it. That’s why.

  23. If the NYTimes and George Bush agree then it must be true. In spite of our best efforts Al Qaeda is growing stronger with the help of Pakistan and we must invade. Who are we to disagree?

    In any case my biggest fear is the growing swarm of blue eyed blond hair Al Qaeda that is about to invade. It is a miracle of god that we haven’t already been hit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBO7xBpJtoc

  24. We’re special.

  25. Also, the expound on that, Pakistan doesn’t govern the areas where Al Qaeda is. If you can’t demonstrate effective government control over territory you claim, you don’t have any rights of sovereignty over it, no matter what the colors on the map say.

  26. The Obama campaign should be making a much bigger deal about this.

    Why the fuck would they want to do something that stupid? It’s the exact same policy we’ve had the last 8 years. What kind of “change” is that?

  27. I thought we should have removed the Taliban, then gotten out.

    Power vacuums in that part of the world are generally filled by the most brutal group handy. Not a recipe for long-term success.

    I think our real mistake, the millstone that keeps Afghanistan from turning the corner, is the War on Poppies.

  28. Because nobody of any importance in the world objects to it. That’s why.

    Excellent, operate on the attitude that if we’re powerful enough, and nobody “important” objects, it’s OK. This causes many rainbows to shine and people all across the world to love us. Good policy.

  29. Episiarch-

    International relations is amoral. Sorry if that makes your stomach turn, but international anarchy is like that.

  30. I think the policy should be:

    Negotiate with Pakistan a policy that says…

    “We can attack Al Q inside your borders and will be responsible for collateral damage. We will notify you ahead of time when possible and encourage your participation whenever possible. We will not house troops on your soil or otherwise violate your sovereignty.”

    Or something along those lines.

    Obama would need to be very careful in how he frames “They are using my ideas” while trying to press a change message. He could do it, but it would need to be done with precision. It has to be some variation of “Once again I was right way back when, and now they are coming around to my perspective.”

  31. Unless you want the U.N. to have actual power to enforce it’s rules. Which means global governance, something that I think you don’t want.

  32. RC Dean,

    I think our real mistake, the millstone that keeps Afghanistan from turning the corner, is the War on Poppies.

    Poppycock. Our real mistake was to put our attention and resources into Iraq. Anyone with even a little knowledge of history would have known the Afghanistan is the hardest place in the world. Harder than 50 Cent.

  33. Nevertheless, Obama was roundly ridiculed.

    As well he should have been. Doing it covertly is one thing, announcing it ahead of time as part of a political campaign is quite another.

    Now the NYT has once again compromised national security by disclosing a secret program that targets terrorists. No doubt the perpetrators will be pursued as vigorously as those who leaked the ultra-important fact Joe Wilson was sent to Nigeria by his CIA desk jockey wife and not Dick Cheney as he claimed.

    And then presumably they’ll get around to investigating the other dozen or so leaks that actually hurt national security. And I’m sure the press will be cheerleading for that just as vigorously.

    I think our real mistake, the millstone that keeps Afghanistan from turning the corner, is the War on Poppies.

    Definitely.

  34. The one thing that is an issue here is the question “Why aren’t they letting us in”.

    Local politics – the Pakistanis are big on national pride, and allowing our force access to “their country” for purposes of killing Pakistanis, even murderous thug Pakistanis who have been killing Afghanis, offends their sensibilities.

  35. Negotiate with Pakistan a policy that says… “We can attack Al Q inside your borders

    Yeah, I’m sure they’ll sign right up for that.

  36. Nitpicking about what China would do is avoiding the question: why is it OK to do this to Pakistan?

    Because our professed ally Pakistan is unwilling or unable to maintain basic security in the tribal mountain regions in the west of their country.

  37. So the way it would work is this.

    Pakistan, we are going to attack Al Q/Taliban when we find them in your territory. We will provide you with political cover by pointing to this negotiated arrangement that says you gave us permission. We will notify you prior to attacks whenever possible. etc…

    I don’t see how this can’t be part of being our “partner in the war on terror.”

  38. If they actually controlled the tribal areas (they don’t) we would ask for permission. Or just ask their law enforcement/military to capture them for us. But they don’t control them, except on paper.

  39. Invading Pakistan, or even seriously _suggesting_ invading Pakistan, will destroy the arguments and organization of peaceful civil society while emboldening both jingoists and religious fundamentalists. This is the surest way to promote either war or terrorism.

    Why do people come up with these ideas just after Musharaf resigns? It’s like people _want_ the place to collapse.

  40. International relations is amoral. Sorry if that makes your stomach turn, but international anarchy is like that.

    Yes, it is. But making raids into countries that say “hey, don’t do that” is part of our international relations problem. We might want to reconsider.

  41. Episiarch-

    Again, you would have a point if Pakistan actually, in reality, controlled the areas where Al Qaeda is. They don’t.

    Invading the “Federally Administered” Tribal Areas (notice the sarcasm quotes) is not the same thing as invading Islamabad or Karachi. The latter really is Pakistan, the former is Paper Pakistan.

  42. So the way it would work is this. Pakistan, we are going to attack Al Q/Taliban when we find them in your territory. We will provide you with political cover by pointing to this negotiated arrangement that says you gave us permission. We will notify you prior to attacks whenever possible. etc…

    Yeah, great idea, you’ve only neglected the fact 90%+ of Pakistanis oppose this plan, many to the point of violently overthrowing a government that agreed to such a thing.

    Aside from that small detail, brilliant.

  43. Where’d this stupid meme start that 90% of Pakistanis are extremist morons who want to start the apocalypse? The people you see burning flags in the streets are a loud, stupid minority.

  44. Invading the “Federally Administered” Tribal Areas (notice the sarcasm quotes) is not the same thing as invading Islamabad or Karachi

    You know what? Fuck it. Take off and nuke the place from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  45. eyeroll,

    Yeah, great idea, you’ve only neglected the fact 90%+ of Pakistanis oppose this plan, many to the point of violently overthrowing a government that agreed to such a thing.

    90%+, you’ve taken a poll on in Pakistan about the idea of partnering with the US to fight terrorism and found 90%+ were opposed to the idea.

    Politics is about selling ideas to people…any plan would involve working to sell the idea to the public in a way that gets them to support it. It takes work.

    I am pretty sure that the terrorists and thugs are not generally supported in Pakistan.

  46. 90%+, you’ve taken a poll on in Pakistan about the idea of partnering with the US to fight terrorism and found 90%+ were opposed to the idea.

    It’s not exactly a secret Pakis are opposed to being invaded.

    Politics is about selling ideas to people…any plan would involve working to sell the idea to the public in a way that gets them to support it. It takes work.

    Sure, just need a little elbow grease. Any day now they’ll change their minds, if we just get our backs into it!

  47. Episiarch–

    To take the China analogy further, if the federal government was actively sheltering a Tibetan nationalist group that brought down two skyscrapers in Shanghai and seriously damaged the Forbidden City, could you blame China if they went to war with us if we refused to turn them over when they request it?

  48. Where’d this stupid meme start that 90% of Pakistanis are extremist morons

    Hmmm…

    Two recent polls of Pakistanis show that between 60 and 76 percent of those polled seek the growth of Sharia throughout Pakistan, which is a key principle in political Islamism.

    Other results of the Terror Free Tomorrow Pakistan poll showed: (a) 74 percent opposing US pursuing Al Qaeda or Taliban in Pakistan, (b) 37 to 49 percent approving local Pakistani Jihadi groups, and (c) half of those responding approving of the Taliban.

    http://counterterrorismblog.org/2007/11/pakistan_and_islamism.php

    It’s a mystery where people get these impressions. I blame racism.

  49. First the announcement about drawing down troops in Iraq (relocating 8000 to Afghanistan) and now this. I can’t tell whether Bush is finally following a sounder foreign policy (which happens to match Obama’s) or whether Bush is maneuvering to attach Obama’s policies to his so he either takes the wind out of his sails or looks better historically. Or both.

  50. As well he should have been. Doing it covertly is one thing, announcing it ahead of time as part of a political campaign is quite another.

    Exactly. Announcing it ahead of time also gives Al Qaeda plenty of time to recruit more Pakistanis and a nice little selling point.

  51. Here is an opinion poll in Pakistan.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-08-22-Pakistan-opinion_N.htm

    It shows that any plan would require a good deal of work on the political side. Unilateral action will only erode support. Negotiated agreements that include efforts to reduce violence in Pakistan would need to be part of any plan.

    The Pakistani people do not support the violence. They want an end to it. The fact that they blame us and are (wisely) suspicious of our motives argues for the need for any military actions to be seen as the US partnering with Pakistan. For that to work, we actually have to be partnering with Pakistan.

    This will be one of the toughest challenges for the next few decades. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be pursued.

    Negotiated military partnerships will be a required element.

  52. I’d really like to know why the Islamist parties only get 15% or so of the vote, then.

    BUT THAT’S A BIG NUMBER! Well, 10% of Americans think we didn’t land on the moon, and a good deal more think 9/11 was an inside job.

  53. Politics is about selling ideas to people

    No, politics is about selling BAD ideas to people. Good ideas don’t need much selling.

  54. So if Bush adopted Obama’s plan, and Obama says McCain is just like Bush, then that means McCain is just like Obama and “change” is just a bunch of bullshit because they’re all the same.

  55. if the federal government was actively sheltering a Tibetan nationalist group that brought down two skyscrapers in Shanghai and seriously damaged the Forbidden City, could you blame China if they went to war with us if we refused to turn them over when they request it?

    So declare war. You are advocating not declaring war and invading Pakistan’s territory at will.

  56. Russ2000,

    Good ideas don’t need much selling.

  57. Good ideas don’t need much selling.

    Says the libertarian…

    ;^)

  58. “No, politics is about selling BAD ideas to people”

    Partly, it’s also about stealing huge amounts of money from some people to use in bribing other people for votes.

  59. Here’s the makeup in the Pakistani National Assembly per Wikipedia:

    Pakistan Peoples Party (Bhutto’s party, pro-western) 121 seats

    Pakistan Muslim League N (Musharraf’s Party, militarist/nationalist) 91 seats

    Pakistan Muslim League Q (center-right) 54 seats

    Muttahida Qaumi Movement (Ethnic minority party) 25 seats

    Awami National Party (Marxist) 13 seats

    Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan (Islamist) 6 seats

    The remaining parties have less than five.

  60. Why don’t they LOVE us?

  61. Neu,

    Libertarianism is not a good idea to most people. It is a tough sell. Asking people to give up their favorite past-time–telling other people what to do–will never be popular.

  62. So, “The More You Know” fucking Marxism is more popular in Pakistan than Islamist parties. The biggest party is pro-western.

  63. Why don’t they LOVE us?

    Because they’ve never really got a good look at our exquisite cocks.

  64. Sugarfree,

    Many good ideas are a tough sell.
    I was mocking the idea that good ideas sell themselves.

  65. Sugarfree-

    Maybe they have, and they’re insanely jealous.

  66. It’s just the rules of the game among the political elite that you don’t say things like that in public.

    I will say that I agree with joe, simply because that never happens. Secret missions in Pakistan are one thing. Open declarations of war are another.

  67. BDB,

    From the link I posted above:

    Pakistani voters have traditionally rejected fundamentalist Islamic parties at the polls – and routed them again in February’s parliamentary elections.

    Moreover, 61% of Pakistanis polled by the International Republican Institute agreed that religious extremism is a serious problem for Pakistan.

    And anti-American sentiment goes only so far: Middle-class Pakistanis still line up for visas at the U.S. embassy and want to send their children to U.S. universities, Rafique says.

    But Pakistanis are deeply suspicious of U.S. motives. The Terror Free Tomorrow poll found that 52% of Pakistanis hold the United States responsible for the violence in their country; just 11% blame hated next-door neighbor India; and 4% blame the Pakistani Taliban themselves.

  68. Because they’ve never really got a good look at our exquisite cocks.

    I don’t know how they couldn’t have; I show mine to everyone.

  69. BDB,

    Note this is the Parliament’s makeup before the US announces a policy of freely invading the country when it suits the US. Do you seriously believe the pro-western and centrist elements are going to gain seats after the US implements such a policy?

  70. P Brooks,

    If that’s the case, who could blame them?

  71. But Neu Mejican! Little Green Footballs sez they all hate us for our freedoms and want to KILL US!/snark

  72. Neu,

    Just an echo of an old argument we had. They run around my brain occasionally.

  73. Note this is the Parliament’s makeup before the US announces a policy of freely invading the country when it suits the US. Do you seriously believe the pro-western and centrist elements are going to gain seats after the US implements such a policy?”

    Maybe not, but the threat is more likely to come from the militarist/nationalist faction than from Islamists who, despite preconceptions, are a tiny minority.

    I don’t like the militarists, but they aren’t suicidal nuts.

  74. Of course there is a difference, the main one being that Pakistan at the time this little argument took place was run by a pro-U.S. strongman dictator whose position was increasingly shaky. There was no sense, politically, in speeding the demise of Mush by undertaking unilateral action in Pakistan at that time. GWB was just playing the best of a weak hand at that moment.

    Pakistan is currently not really being run by anyone. Therefore, you’re damned right it’s appropriate to take direct unilateral action at this time.

    Of course, if Obama had a clue about foreign policy (and had a real F.P. advisor instead of “Xerox” Biden,) he might understand those points.

  75. some fed,

    You are on point.
    That is why any actions like this need to be done in a way that provides political cover for the Pakistani government and makes it clear that we are partnering with Pakistan to deal with a common interest.

    This is a good idea, but a tough sell.
    Unilateral actions are not a good idea.

    Negotiations for the kinds of actions that Obama and the military are advocating look worse when they are covert and just increase suspicion.

    The Pakistani people are our most valuable allies in the war on terror…much more than the Pakistani military.

  76. BTW, I notice know it’s changed from “90% of the people violently overthrowing the government!” to “the pro-western party would lose seats in the next election”.

  77. Libertarianism is not a good idea to most people. It is a tough sell. Asking people to give up their favorite past-time–telling other people what to do–will never be popular.

    Libertarianism is tough sell because if you’re trying to sell it, you’re violaing the first tenet of libertarianism which is to leave people alone.

    Once people are sold on bullshit, they spend a lot of time re-selling the bullshit to themselves because they have buyer’s remorse.

  78. Oh hell, in international diplomacy, lies are what holds agreements and coalitions together.

    How about these?

    Oops. Our maps were wrong.
    Oops. Our GPS receivers were malfunctioning.
    Oops. It was foggy. Everbody gets lost in the fog.
    Oops. Sandstorm.
    Oops. Training problems. We’re working on it.

    We pretend it not bullshit and Mushareff (sp?) and Bhutto do the same. The average Pakistani still hates (read envies) the west but can skip the riot because everybody makes a boo boo once in a while.

  79. J sub has it right. Make shit up.

  80. Libertarianism is tough sell because if you’re trying to sell it, you’re violaing the first tenet of libertarianism which is to leave people alone.

    That is not the first tenet of libertarianism.

    Persuasion is not the same as coercion.

    Hell, persuasion is required is libertopia is to work.

    Everyone needs to be persuaded to leave others to their own devices.

  81. Episiarch said:

    “I don’t know how they couldn’t have; I show mine to everyone.”

    Not me! I haven’t seen it! I feel so left out. Come on, Epi, post a pic! 🙂

  82. Russ 2000,

    Asking people to leave me alone (promoting libertarianism) is only a counter-punch to their initial aggression of not leaving me alone. I refuse to be an intellectual pacifist nor do I think it violates libertarian principles to defend yourself.

  83. “””‘Was it only naive because it came from Obama?””

    Yes, of course. Politics as usual. Just like it was wrong for Obama to get rock star status until McCain found a rock star of his own.

    The whole world should know we want OBL and if OBL might be in your area, we’ll do something about it. If Pakistan really gives a shit they will move heaven and earth to make sure OBL is not in their country or capture/kill him if he is. Wasn’t part of the point of ridding Afghanistan of the Taliban, to show the world we will not tolerate giving OBL or AQ a place to live? Once Pakistan made peace deals with the Taliban, they made their bed. They should have known right then and there that the deal puts them in our gun sights.

    “””I question the decision to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty without some degree of communication with the government, but that may have happened for all I know.”””

    If you remotely believe that Pakistan’s intel agency is tipping them off, you don’t communicate your intentions to the government. You might as well drop leaflets to the enemy. In a perfect world Pakistan would not aide the enemy and sincerely work with us. Their commitment against those who harbor AQ is not as strong as it should be. It seems Pakistan is trying to play both ends. They don’t want war with the Taliban but they don’t want war with us. One day, and probably soon, Pakistan must choose a side, else we’ll choose it for them.

    If the people of Pakistan don’t want us invading their country, they should pressure their governemnt to solve the problem without our intervention.

    “””The Pakistani people do not support the violence. They want an end to it. The fact that they blame us and are (wisely) suspicious of our motives argues for the need for any military actions to be seen as the US partnering with Pakistan. For that to work, we actually have to be partnering with Pakistan. “””

    They don’t support the violence yet they don’t have a big enough problem supporting peace plans for those actively commiting violence. Isn’t that a form of supporting violence?

    Sure, there would be nothing better than joint US/Pakistan efforts. But that’s not working very well. Maybe the new Pakistan President will change things and make joint efforts more effective.

    “””Now the NYT has once again compromised national security by disclosing a secret program that targets terrorists”””

    So shoot the messenger? They NYT got a story an they ran it, that’s what newspapers do. How about blaiming the ex-intel officer for giving they NYT the information. We’ve already had one leak investigation, it didn’t work out for the Whitehouse very well.

  84. “if libertopia” not “is”

  85. Not me! I haven’t seen it! I feel so left out. Come on, Epi, post a pic! 🙂

    No, no, I only show it in person.

  86. CHAHLEEE MURPHEEEE!!

    Geopolitics is a helluva drug.

  87. “Of course, if Obama had a clue about foreign policy (and had a real F.P. advisor instead of “Xerox” Biden,) he might understand those points.”

    As I recall, Biden was one of those who wanted to partition Iraq. I don’t hear him playing up that particular example of his foreign policy “wisdom” now.

  88. Well, all that ethnic cleansing was kind of a violent self-partition.

  89. No, no, I only show it in person.

    It’s like a vampire. It won’t reproduce on film or reflect in a mirror. IT HAS NO SOUL!

  90. Gilbert Martin,

    As I recall, Biden was one of those who wanted to partition Iraq.

    That was not Biden’s plan.

    He wanted a weaker central government and greater regional control.

  91. “””But Pakistanis are deeply suspicious of U.S. motives. The Terror Free Tomorrow poll found that 52% of Pakistanis hold the United States responsible for the violence in their country; just 11% blame hated next-door neighbor India; and 4% blame the Pakistani Taliban themselves.”””

    Only 4% of Pakistini’s believe the Taliban is responsible for violence says a lot. They fail to grap the basic concept the trouble the Taliban is causing in Afghanistan will follow them back across the border. In other words, It’s ok for the Taliban to do their deeds, and it’s wrong for us to fight back.

  92. It shows that any plan would require a good deal of work on the political side.

    It’s a pipe dream. Sheltering the Taliban is more popular than letting the Americans chase them, and no amount of “work” is going to change that.

    Biden was one of those who wanted to partition Iraq….That was not Biden’s plan.

    Yes, it was. Your grasp of U.S. politics is worse than your grasp of Pakistan’s.

    “Biden proposes partitioning Iraq into 3 regions

    WASHINGTON – The senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee proposed Monday that Iraq be divided into three separate regions – Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni – with a central government in Baghdad.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12572371/

    The plan was notable mostly for the fact it was rejected by pretty much all Iraqis.

  93. IT HAS NO SOUL!

    You’d lose your soul too if you’d done what it has.

  94. Eyeroll-

    Would you say the USA is partitioned into fifty states with a central government in Washington?

  95. “The plan was notable mostly for the fact it was rejected by pretty much all Iraqis.”

    Indeed – heres a Reuter’s story about it.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLN9698420080823?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=10112

    The Iraqis certainly viewed it as a partitioning plan.

  96. “For what is a man profited, if he shall screw the whole world, and lose his penis’ soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his penis’ soul?”

  97. Over 90% of Pakistanis don’t even want us in Afghanistan, according to Gallup:

    Just 9% say they think U.S. military action in Afghanistan is morally justified. The least supportive: people in Morocco, Indonesia and Pakistan.

    And 80% don’t believe Arabs carried out 9.11:

    Although U.S. officials say all 19 of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Arab men, only 18% of those polled in six Islamic countries say they believe Arabs carried out the attacks; 61% say Arabs were not responsible; and 21% say they don’t know.

  98. eyeroll,

    I was going to refute your assertion, but I see it is self-refuting…

    As for Iraqi support for the plan…it is pretty much the reality on the ground in Iraq that strong regional leaders have stabilized the country, and that the central government is allowed to operate at the behest of those regional leaders. Biden’s plan was simply to formalize the reality on the ground.

  99. Who gives a fuck? They elected a pro western party, with the Islamists holding a grand total of five seats–less than the Marxist party. seems to be a more accurate result than your polls.

  100. NutraSweet, you made me work for that one. Bible quotes? I don’t think I’ve ever even cracked one open.

  101. Would you say the USA is partitioned into fifty states with a central government in Washington?

    What we need is to partition the country into autonomous regions: one for the blacks, one for the Muslims, one for the Hispanics, one for the Chinese…

    Only then will this country have peace!

  102. If blacks and whites were literally slaughtering one another wantonly in the street that might be the best option.

  103. The more you know,

    Your numbers and your assertions don’t line up.

    That is 9% or who? Morocco, Indonesia, and Pakistan combined? All Muslims surveyed worldwide?

    Please clarify or provide a link.

  104. Secret missions in Pakistan are one thing.

    They might be a secret to the American public, but I suspect that when the killing commences, the cat is out of the bag as far as Pakistanis are concerned.

  105. I was going to refute your assertion, but I see it is self-refuting…

    That’s just the kind of delusional thinking I’d expect from someone advocating the idea “work” is going to make Pakistanis welcome U.S. invasion.

    it is pretty much the reality on the ground in Iraq that strong regional leaders have stabilized the country, and that the central government is allowed to operate at the behest of those regional leaders. Biden’s plan was simply to formalize the reality on the ground.

    Wow, and I thought your other comments were ill-informed!

    Explain again how the Iraqi Army, last seen stomping both Shia militias and Sunni extremists, is a “regional leader.” Or how the central government, with $7B a month in oil revenue and all the troops, is being “allowed” to govern by anyone.

  106. “””Over 90% of Pakistanis don’t even want us in Afghanistan, according to Gallup:”””

    It didn’t take long for me to understand the concept that for muslims, only a muslim can hurt another muslim. That’s sort of like picking on your little brother but not letting anyone else pick on him. I can understand it, but I don’t have to agree with it, and I shouldn’t want to formulate foreign policy around it.

  107. If blacks and whites were literally slaughtering one another wantonly in the street that might be the best option.

    Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!

  108. Eyeroll,

    Clearly we have different perspectives on the facts.

    E.G., Are you under the impression that Anbar was pacified by the Iraqi army? Or was it a shift in perspective by local leaders? Kurdistan has remained relatively stable due to the central government and the army?

    Do you really see it that way?

  109. I don’t hear him playing up that particular example of his foreign policy “wisdom” now.

    Actually, he just claimed on national TV that his strategy has been implemented and is responsible for the success in Iraq.

    He never quite uses the word “partition”, but he does claim that Anbar could be turned over because there are no Shiites and no Iraqi national forces there, which is what he had called for.

    He also claims that the surge was just the implementation of his previous call for more special forces, a comment so divorced from reality it really makes you wonder about his mental health.

    And this is supposed to be one of the big foreign policy brains in the Senate. God help us all.

  110. Clearly the morons don’t know what finally ended the Yugoslav Wars.

  111. http://www.historiae.org/obama.asp

    Yes, Biden was for partition. Unsurprisingly, his supporters would like us to forget that.

    Arguably, the addition of Joe Biden to the Obama ticket might aggravate these tendencies, because in the past Biden has been a leading American voice in promoting an interpretation of Iraq as a country of three mutually hostile and internally stable population blocks. His various “plans for Iraq”, while frequently misunderstood, in different ways reinforce the view that the main problem in Iraq has to do with a centralised state structure and coexistence issues. Like many others in American politics, Biden has failed to acknowledge the emerging non-sectarian trends in Iraq, seeking instead to push ideas about “Sunni federalism” during his visit to the Anbar governorate. Remarkably, however, it seems that Biden may have cleaned up his Iraq rhetoric as part of his VP bid. At least, it is quite conspicuous how every trace of his “plan for Iraq” now appears to have been erased from his website at joebiden.com, where he now instead supports Barrack Obama’s more general argument about shifting the focus to Afghanistan. Also, at some point between April 2008 and today, Biden’s website specifically devoted to his soft partition schemes, http://www.planforiraq.com, was quietly shut down – at this site, Biden’s rhetoric had consistently focused on a tripartite Iraq to the very end. Only on his Senate website traces of his Iraq policy remain, but even there a more toned-down version appears, with the emphasis on a general push for federalisation

  112. Yes, they ethnically cleansed themselves.

    Arabs aren’t allowed north of Kirkuk.

    Shias don’t exist in Anbar, Sunnis don’t exist in the south.

    In Baghdad, the neighborhoods are homogenous.

  113. Clearly the morons don’t know what finally ended the Yugoslav Wars.

    Ummmm… when are they ending?

  114. SIV or TallDave or whoever you are, did you get a time machine and go back to 1994? They’re over.

  115. The Yugoslav Wars were a series of violent conflicts in the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) that took place between 1991 and 2001

    Again, I’d really like to take a look at your Time Machine TallDave.

  116. The principal behind this is that these right wing hypocrites Republican, they are so fast to criticize.But when they do it ,it is the right thing to do, GOD SEND US.America wake up

  117. The more you know,

    Biden is the VP pick, of course his website would morph towards Obama’s policies.

    But, again, “partion” = local control with a weak central government. Are you arguing against that as a basically good plan for Iraqis to implement?

  118. Would you say the USA is partitioned into fifty states with a central government in Washington?

    Not in any meaningful way, no. At least not anymore.

    E.G., Are you under the impression that Anbar was pacified by the Iraqi army?

    Anbar was pacified by the American surge, by the coopting of the Sunni militias by the Iraqi central government. I suspect that the spectacle of Shiite hard boys filling ditches after crossing the Americans and the Iraqi army was, um, instrumental as well.

    Or was it a shift in perspective by local leaders?

    A shift in perspective by local leaders is perfectly consistent with the national government demonstrating that it can exercise real control, and provide real rewards for cooperation. See, above, hard lessons learned by Shiite militias.

  119. The plan would have had a structure similar to what exists in Belgium. There’s a Walloon region, a Flemmish region, and a very small German region with extensive local control. Brussels is a federal city.

    I await TallDave to compare this to segregation..

  120. This is because Belgium, like Iraq, is a fabricated country.

  121. OK after Pakistan the government should go after the FARC in Colombia for sending drugs here that kill our citizens. The government of Colombia can’t take them out so we will. Then on to Mexico to take out the marijuana trade that is harming our youth and that the Mexican government can’t take care of itself. Fuck sovereignity(sp? no spell check on Chrome) if you can’t police your own borders. Our children are at stake.

    You fucking warmongers are so shortsighted it’s unbelievable.

  122. RC Dean,

    I saw that interview.

    What problem do you have with Biden’s statements?

    Did he advocate for increased local control?
    Has that become the reality?
    Is that working?
    Did the surge help to get Iraq to a point that looks more like what Biden was advocating?

  123. RC Dean,

    Your timeline is off on Anbar.

    You are right, however, that leaders in Anbar needed to see that cooperation was good for their area. One of the signals that was sent was that they would be allowed to maintain control of their own region without excessive meddling from the middle.

  124. But, again, “partion” = local control with a weak central government. Are you arguing against that as a basically good plan for Iraqis to implement?

    Hell, I think that’s a good plan for anyone to implement.

    But that’s not what won the war in Iraq – that was won by policies opposed by Biden – the surge, and building up the Iraqi central government and army. Co-opting local militias (or gunning them down if they don’t play nice) is not the same, at all, as giving them the autonomy envisioned by even soft partition.

  125. Your timeline is off on Anbar.

    How so?

    What problem do you have with Biden’s statements?

    Just to pick one that can be falsified in short order, he claims that the surge represented the implementation of his call for different kinds of troops. It did not. The surge involved putting more of the usual kinds of troops in country, but more importantly, using them in a different way.

    Biden opposed the surge. Its a little late now to pretend it was all his idea.

    I also take issue that what we have now is de facto soft partition of Iraq as called for by Biden. For him to characterize his plan as just “more local control” is ingenuous in the extreme. I don’t think there is anything on the ground in Iraq right now that looks like Biden’s three semi-autonomous regions. Various degrees of local control around the country does not equal soft partition into three semi-autonomous ethnically-based regions.

  126. RC Dean

    The war in Iraq has been won.

    Alright, we can go home now!

    Co-opting?
    What does that involve?
    How was that implemented?

    FWIW, I am not arguing against the surge being an important element in the success we are seeing currently. And Biden was not either in his interview on Sunday.

    It is unknown whether we would have gotten to the same/a similar place we are in now without the surge.

    I do think that Anbar in particular is a success largely because Al Qaeda mismanaged their war efforts even worse than the US has its efforts.

  127. I don’t think there is anything on the ground in Iraq right now that looks like Biden’s three semi-autonomous regions.

    Surely there are at least two.
    No?

    The change in Anbar started prior to the surge…causal arrows have a habit of moving forward in time.

  128. The surge involved putting more of the usual kinds of troops in country, but more importantly, using them in a different way.

    Hmmm… that doesn’t quite seem right, but at worst is picking nits.

    It seemed to me that Biden was talking about “using them in different ways” as much as anything, but whatever.

  129. “I do think that Anbar in particular is a success largely because Al Qaeda mismanaged their war efforts even worse than the US has its efforts.”

    Bingo. They made the same mistakes Germans did when invading the USSR in WWII–instead of treating them well so they would work with them and against Stalin, they treated them EVEN WORSE than Stalin.

    Just as in Anbar the sunnis realized that whatever problems they had with a US-backed government it was much much superior to living under a psychotic regime like Al Qaeda.

  130. SIV or TallDave or whoever you are, did you get a time machine and go back to 1994? They’re over.

    After 18 years, the borders still aren’t defined. The parties are still at war, and onlu prevented from active hostilities by peacekeeping forces.

    1998 Fighting breaks out between Serbian forces and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

    2001 Brief Conflict in Southern Serbia between Albanian militants and Serbian security forces

    2006 Death of Ibrahim Rugova in Pri?tina Kosovo Republic of Serbia, State Union of Serbia and Montenegro
    Montenegro dissolves the union with Serbia becoming an independent republic.

    2008 Kosovo declares independence on 17 February 2008. The UN is still divided over the recognition of the state. The UN is still divided over the recognition of the state.

    Not exactly a model of success. The Iraqi “civil war” took about 1/10 as long.

  131. You’re seriously telling me that there’s still a war in Yugoslavia?

  132. If there’s a war in Yugoslavia, there’s still a civil war in Iraq.

  133. So if Bush adopted Obama’s plan, and Obama says McCain is just like Bush, then that means McCain is just like Obama and “change” is just a bunch of bullshit because they’re all the same.

    Yes, BUT, if the Bush administration and the McCain campaign are working together, then this may be a trap for Obama. If Obama stands up and takes credit for this, Bush can have the operation cocked up so that both he and Obama look like idiots, which McCain can then seize on. If Obama downplays it, or ignores it, and then, WOO!, OCTOBER SURPRISE!, OSAMA BIN LADEN CAPTURED! Then Bush can thank McCain (like he did for the G.I. Bill) and the McCain campaign can show us that only Republicans can bring our enemies to justice.

    Ain’t politics great!

  134. How many American troops died in the Yugoslav Wars? I forgot.

  135. Mike E. I head the October Surprise bullshit brandied about in 2004. It’s still bullshit.

  136. Neu, you can dishonestly spin it all you like, but what Biden advocated wasn’t “local control.” It was partition by ethnosectarian identity, and then withdrawal. It was a recipe for an endless civil war.

    What succeeded was exactly the opposite: a nonsectarian Iraqi Army and a multisectarian central government. The Awakening movements were local, but a condition of U.S. support was they be very explicitly nonsectarian.

    It was when the Sunni Awakening groups began welcoming and protecting Shia that they knew the strategy was working. The model was then expanded to Shia areas, and the sectarian groups that Biden wanted to hand control to were crushed by the Iraqi Army and their own Awakening movement.

  137. How many American troops died in the Yugoslav Wars? I forgot.

    Owen Wilson almost died. Does that count?

  138. Clearly, SugarFree, that is not a model of success then.

  139. Mike E. I head the October Surprise bullshit brandied about in 2004. It’s still bullshit.

    No, it’s not! I will explain…..wait….are those black helicopters?!

    Sorry, I gotta………………….

  140. How many American troops died in the Yugoslav Wars? I forgot.

    I guess by this definition, the Congo and Rwanda are big successes.

    You’re seriously telling me that there’s still a war in Yugoslavia?

    You’re seriously holding up Yugoslavia as an argument for partition? Partition is was the wars were about! And you’re arguing this ven after we’ve already seen the opposite work in Iraq?

  141. “Eyeroll”–

    I don’t think you get it. Read about what ended the war *within* Bosnia, not the war *between* say Serbia and Croatia or Serbia and Slovenia.

    Bosnia ended it’s part in the war by being divided into three autonomous areas with a weak central government. That agreement exists to this day.

    That wasn’t partition, anymore than Belgium is partitioned.

  142. But what about the first season of 24? Serbians are Dennis Hopper-level Eeevil!

    By the way, I once read that the worst things that ever happened to thriller novelists and screenwriters were the invention of the cell phone and the fall of the USSR. Think of all the situations in pre-cellphone thrillers they would immediately solve. Think of having to invent ethnic criminals with out the convenient Soviet crutch.

  143. Read about what ended the war *within* Bosnia, not the war *between* say Serbia and Croatia or Serbia and Slovenia.

    NATO bombing and 10 years (and counting) of peacekeepers?

    I thought you guys wanted to leave Iraq someday.

  144. Of course today it’s impossible for an Arab to enter Kurdistan, and even illegal to fly the Iraqi flag without special permission in the same region.

    But hey, at least it’s not autonomous! Oh wait.

  145. The U.N. Peacekeeping mission in Bosnia was completed in 2002.

  146. There are around 2,000 troops left in Bosnia, mostly non-combat, and almost entirely European.

    If we left a few hundered American troops in Iraq among a force of 2,000 Arabs, with no fighting for over a decade, that’d be a big success. It also wouldn’t cost $10 billion/month.

    Let me know when we get there.

  147. Of course today it’s impossible for an Arab to enter Kurdistan,

    Bullhooey. They import Arab labor.

    The U.N. Peacekeeping mission in Bosnia was completed in 2002.

    Oh goody, someone should tell the NATO troops they don’t need to be in Yugoslavia anymore, since that was such a success.

  148. Let me know when we get there.

    Since the Iraqi government has agreed to take over by 2011, I bet it takes a lot less than 18+ years.

    Let me when all those borders in Yugoslavia get worked out.

  149. Bosnia has been stable since 1995, and was stabilized from the moment U.N. troops got on the ground and the Dayton Accords were signed.

    Iraq was a wreck until early 2008 even with the presence of American troops, and has been peaceful for a grand total of one year if you want to be generous.

  150. Bosnia has been stable since 1995

    So? The rest of Yugoslavia hasn’t.

    Iraq was a wreck until early 2008

    Ooh, all of four years. Let’s see how they’re doing in 14 more. I bet they aren’t still arguing over borders.

  151. Since when has Bosnia argued over it’s borders with Serbia or Croatia?

    Slovenia has joined the EU and NATO, Croatia and Bosnia are next. One of the conditions of joining either organization is for the country to accept it’s borders.

  152. Eyeroll,

    Neu, you can dishonestly spin it all you like, but what Biden advocated wasn’t “local control.” It was partition by ethnosectarian identity, and then withdrawal. It was a recipe for an endless civil war.

    So the difference in our perspective means I am being dishonest while you are a paragon of virtue?

    I see it differently than you do.
    There are enough complex facts available that reasonable people may see an entirely different set of facts as the essential ones, while de-emphasizing the ones another reasonable person sees as essential.

    Regional partition was what Biden advocated, with a non-sectarian central government. Very similar to where I think we will end up once the Iraqi’s are in charge.

    The main fuel for the civil war was a sense that the Shia were going to be placed in charge of a strong central government that would not sufficiently represent the Sunni interests. The success of the country will remain hinged on a sense that all parties will have their interests served. If the Shia overplay their hand in exerting centralized control, we will be back where we were a couple of years ago.

  153. Since when has Bosnia argued over it’s borders with Serbia or Croatia?

    Uhh, Serbia only agreed on its borders two years ago.

    Following Montenegro’s vote for full independence in the plebiscite of May 21, 2006 (55.4% YES 44.6% NO),[4] Montenegro declared independence on June 3, 2006.[5] This was followed on June 5, 2006 by Serbia’s declaration of independence, marking the final dissolution of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and the re-emergence of Serbia as an independent state, under its own name, for the first time since 1918

    And then there’s this little problem:

    On February 17, 2008, Kosovo proclaimed independence from Serbia.

  154. So the difference in our perspective means I am being dishonest while you are a paragon of virtue?

    Yes, thank you. When a million articles say “Biden argues for partition” and you say “it’s not partition!” you are being dishonest.

    Regional partition was what Biden advocated, with a non-sectarian central government. Very similar to where I think we will end up once the Iraqi’s are in charge.

    I give up. You’re either too stupid or too dishonest to be worth talking to.

  155. I was talking about Bosnia. Now you’re switching the subject to Montenegro. I wonder why?

    How much violence was there between Montenegro and Serbia in recent years, btw?

  156. “I give up. You’re either too stupid or too dishonest to be worth talking to.”

    Translation: My talking points aren’t working. PURPLE FINGERS!

  157. Is Belgium partitioned? Is Bosnia?

  158. Biden’s own words:

    “The idea, as in Bosnia, is to maintain a united Iraq by decentralizing it, giving each ethno-religious group – Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab – room to run its own affairs, while leaving the central government in charge of common interests,” Biden and Gelb wrote in their opinion piece on May 1, 2006. “We could drive this in place with irresistible sweeteners for the Sunnis to join in, a plan designed by the military for withdrawing and redeploying American forces, and a regional nonaggression pact.”

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/07/30/asia/letter.php?page=1

  159. Yes, thank you. When a million articles say “Biden argues for partition” and you say “it’s not partition!” you are being dishonest.

    You clearly don’t understand the concept of polysemy.

    When you say “partition” you are pretending that Biden was advocating breaking the country up. He was not. In fact, as is clear from all those millions of articles, is that he was arguing for more decentralization within the country, which would have a weaker centralized government.

    So he didn’t mean “partition” he meant “partition.”

    Two different senses of the word.

    Nuance is clearly not your strong suit.

  160. “So he didn’t mean “partition” he meant “partition.”

    Neu, you’re probably talking to a person who thinks “torture” doesn’t mean “torture”. You’re not going to get far.

  161. “Biden is the VP pick, of course his website would morph towards Obama’s policies.”

    Biden should do a better job of comparing notes with Obama then, since Biden is trying to claim the surge was really his idea and Obama was stridently opposed to it and stubbornly refused to acknowledge it had achieved any success until very recently.

  162. BTW,

    Polysemy can lead to ambiguity.
    This is avoided in discourse with modifiers.

    In my post above…”regional partition” is used to emphasize that the partitioning that Biden was advocating would have been based on geography. Geographic regions may have been designed to be as ethnically homogeneous as possible, but the actual partitions would have been geographic sub-divisions of Iraq. Iraq would not have been “broken up.”

    Again, I predict this will be where the “reconciliation” currently underway ends up.

  163. Gilbert Martin,

    I don’t see Obama “stubbornly” refusing to acknowledge “any success.” He has made a consistent point to highlight that the surge had several goals and that not all of them have been met.

    As for Biden claiming the surge as his own.
    That is just a distortion of his claim.
    He claimed that the element of the surge that is responsible for it success (which he acknowledges) was a change in tactics that looks like what he advocated.

    The problem is trying to lump a complex web of policies under a single syllable word “surge.”

    It does allow politicians to be for it and against it at the same time. This can be done honestly or disingenuously.

  164. What this discussion on Iraq emphasizes in my mind is that no matter what military actions we take in Pakistan, we do not by any stretch want to get ourselves involved in invading and occupying even the smallest region of Pakistan.

  165. “I don’t see Obama “stubbornly” refusing to acknowledge “any success.”

    What a surprise.

  166. Didn’t he say there has been success beyond what anyone imagined?

  167. Getting back to the subject of the post, a lot of people are noting that air strikes tend to kill a lot of innocent people.

    Read the post again. This is about sending special forces teams into Pakistan. Boots on the ground. Eyeball confirmation from our our troops before a shot is fired, much more accurate fire, and much less actual firepower expended.

    This is an alternative to air strikes to hit al Qaeda targets in Pakistan.

    Of course, if Obama had a clue about foreign policy (and had a real F.P. advisor instead of “Xerox” Biden,) he might understand those points.

    Obama seemed to undertand that Musharrif was a dead end, a weak hand not worth betting on, a lot sooner than Bush and McCain.

  168. What’s ironic about promoting Large-L Libertarianism is that it generally involves trying to get people (who want to be left alone, and who you’d really rather leave alone) to sign something. Somehow, judges, who sign crap all day for a living, don’t seem to see the difficulty in all this, but I assure you it’s not an easy task. In fact, it’s so hard to get on the ballot that I’m inclined to support ANY effort towards it, even by those who totally disagree with me.

  169. joe: I nominate Pat Tillman to lead the special forces operation. What could go wrong?

    too soon?

  170. joe,

    Obama seemed to undertand that Musharrif was a dead end, a weak hand not worth betting on, a lot sooner than Bush and McCain.

    Only if you call a year “a lot sooner.”

    ;^)

    The point about reducing collateral damage with boots on the ground is an important one.

    I believe the last few years have really demonstrated the limitations of air power.

    Sure we can blow shit up at will, but it doesn’t really do us any good.

  171. McCain did not criticize Obama’s plan. He criticized Obama for wanting to make it public:

    “Well, the best idea is to not broadcast what you’re going to do. That’s naive,” McCain told reporters in Columbus, Ohio.

  172. Nuclear war in the fertile crescent? It’s more likely then you think. Want proof it’s bad idea? BUSH DID IT! You don’t get a much better proof something isn’t smart. Remember when Bush Sr. chose not to opt for regime change in Iraq citing the cost in human lives and money but his advisors disagreed? How many “i told you so”s has he handed out since 2002?

  173. NM,

    The point about reducing collateral damage with boots on the ground is an important one.

    One that applies to Afghanistan as well.

    “Well, the best idea is to not broadcast what you’re going to do. That’s naive,” McCain told reporters in Columbus, Ohio. That would be a fine argument, if Obama was talking about a specific operation, tactic, or even strategy.

  174. One big difference now is that Musharraf recently stopped actively fighting the Taliban and friends, and indeed Musharraf is now no longer in charge. While the Pakistani gov’t was actually fighting the Taliban (which is when Obama made his comment), you could make the argument that any unauthorized strike within Pakistan’s territory was a bad idea. Now that they’re not fighting, and indeed have largely conceded control over the Northwest, the situation is different.

  175. The United States is alone in this world, and whether the rest of the world says they love us or hate us, they hate us. The Arabs have been waging Jihad against the West for centuries; they just haven’t been very effective until now.

    Carter was weak and they took advantage of him to build strength. Reagan hammered them a little, but they used that to build their resolve. Bush 1 hammered them a little more but his love of oil made them rich. Clinton was pathetic and the Arabs got cocky and used their strength, resolve, and wealth to attck the United States. Bush 2 beat them badly and we need to continue to beat them badly until they are gone, ferreted out and killed in their own countries and removed from ours. Liberal Americans and Eurpoeans; you guilt-ridden, fat, lazy, parasites, can self-destruct if you want to, but I’m not going with you.

  176. Wow, Phil, did you get Liberal Americans and Eurpoeans; you guilt-ridden, fat, lazy, parasites, can self-destruct if you want to, but I’m not going with you directly from an Osama bin Laden tape, or what?

    You all sound alike to me.

  177. Also, it might not be a good idea to announce in advance that you’ll be engaging in secret attacks, as Obama did.

  178. That would be a fine argument, if Obama was talking about a specific operation, tactic, or even strategy.

    WTF? He is talking about strategy, joe. He’s talking about major operations in CENTCOM…if that’s not strategy, I don’t know what is.

  179. Hmm….maybe Bush is on to something. If he carries out Obama’s plan, everyone will love it…because Obama thought of it and nobody will be criticizing Obama! Only praise for Americas Savior.

  180. There aren’t any friendly civvies in these so-called villages; most of them are Taleban who fled from Afghanistan when things got nasty, and they sit in their mountain hidey-holes pummeling the good guys with rockets and mortars. Our military, surely sick of Pakistan not doing anything about it, finally got the green light to fight back regardless of political borders. As is common knowledge among Afghan refugees I’ve spoken to, lots of people in that region have been indoctrinated through religious schools to be mindless wacko fighters ever since the CIA started supplying the Mujahideen with propaganda materials in 1980 (or earlier: http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.html ), so it’s no surprise they’re still fighting; it’s the only life they know. My friend told me his cousin had a textbook, printed in the US, teaching math with grenades and ammo.

  181. Crossing the border without official permission from the Pakistani government undermines that government – a dangerous policy considering Pakistan is probably the closest thing that exists today to a democratic secular country with a muslim majority. The world does have rules, just because it may be seem to be in our interest to break them – in the long term it is not. There has to be some sort of policy – secret or not between Pakistan and the US before crossing their border – to openly do so without such an agreement puts the US in the same category as those who would do us harm. Clandestine operations usually follow rules that if the parties are caught they disavow any relationship with their sponsor – they will probably continue unabated. But deploying regular troops should never be an official policy without official consent from Pakistan. For Obama to publicly declare such a policy removes it from the clandestine realm to officially sanctioned – a very naive move.

  182. In addition – you failed to draw the distinction between Obama’s public declaration and President Bush’s secret orders. For those still missing the boat here – clandestine = secret = not officially sponsored. If we don’t have permission and still want to go after them – we should do so under the radar. To publicly disregard another nation’s borders is naive and Bush did not do that. BTW – how is this reporter privileged to divulge secret information? Don’t think it is covered by the right to free speech.

  183. I do not understand “libertarians” who hate conservatives and Republicans and then express support to socialists and potential Marxists.

    What’s that all about?

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